Some scenarios in deer hunting call for more than merely sitting stand and waiting. This proves true very often in the west where wide-open country is very prevalent and even sometimes in the denser woods where a buck that can’t be patterned uses every imaginable trail then some. While trying to get close to a wily whitetail buck on foot seems futile, using a decoy can make all the difference in the world. Often the buck will help you close the distance by coming in for a better look. There’s no step-for-step guide to spotting and stalking whitetails, so you’re going to need to think on your feet and use every advantage at your disposal.
The Best Spotting Method
The best way to spot bucks is by staying mobile. Like many things in life, finding a shooter buck is a numbers game and the more ground you cover, the more deer you’re going to see. We’re not saying go trouncing through every field and bedding area around, but instead tactfully glass these areas where you already know deer inhabit from adjoining hillsides.
The truck is also a great vehicle to consider, especially in areas like parts of the Midwest where constant rolling hills limit eyesight. Plus, if the elements aren’t very suitable for anything but waterfowl, the dry, warm cab of a truck can keep you in the game longer. Then, you crest a rise that hovers over a cut cornfield, glass the surrounding area, and there he is, standing with a few does some 500 yards distant.
Stalking With a Deer Decoy
The approach, or stalk, is when the fun really begins. And this is also where a decoy will prove to be super handy. Usually, the more distance you have to work with while still being able to see the animal is optimal. Sometimes we get in too much of a hurry readying our gear, thus making inadvertent noise.
Keeping any kind of cover between you and the buck, begin your stalk. Always, always, always stalk into the wind. Judge distance wisely. Knowing when to stop or keep going is crucial. If you can read a deer’s body language, as most of us can, then this should be rather simple. If he’s alert and anxious, then stop. If he’s alert, but not overly concerned, keep slowly making your way.
We’d suggest using Archer's Choice Plot Pack, which can be used as two does, during the late pre rut and rut when bucks are building a harem. Upon seeing the decoy, he’s likely to move in closer to check her out, which will in turn allow you time to prepare for a shot. On the other hand, the buck, seeing the decoy already moving in his direction, may just wait on you. Again, know your distances. Having a rangefinder handy would be to a great advantage.
The buck decoy in the AC Plot Pack is likely to induce aggression. This will be especially true during the peak of the rut when bucks don’t want some inferior hanging around. If the buck chooses to come and to greet you, be prepared to stake the decoy quickly and ready yourself to shoot. If you’re fortunate to have a hunting buddy with you, this will allow for several crucial seconds to prepare for a shot rather than worrying about planting the decoy to free your hands.
Whether you choose to stalk with a decoy during gun season or bow season, exude extreme caution. This is especially true on public land where other hunters might be watching the same field you’re stalking in. Always wear hunter’s orange, even if it’s private land. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to even attach some orange, maybe a piece of tape, to the decoy. Because there are people out there that will do some really crazy things to kill a buck, even if that’s shooting from the road or trespassing.
For those of us who may have a waning interest in sitting long hours in the treestand, yet still desire the taste of buck fever, try spotting and stalking using a decoy. You’re on the ground face to face with one of the smartest, most graceful creatures we’ll ever be fortunate enough to hunt in his own yard. There’s no greater challenge or reward if all goes well. Hunt safe, hunt smart, hunt with Montana Decoy.